Introduction to Niseko Town
The name "Niseko" is derived from the language of the Ainu, the indigenous people of Hokkaido, and from the name of the mountain "Niseko Annupuri," a distinctive mountain that forms the landscape of the region. In the Ainu language, "Niseko" means "cliff," and "Nupuri" means "mountain." Combining these two words, "Niseko Annupuri" means "a mountain with sheer cliffs and rivers."
Niseko Town is located in western Hokkaido and is a hilly basin surrounded by the mountains of Mt. Yotei (1,898m) and Niseko Annupuri (1,308m), a national park and a resort area rich in nature. Mt. Yotei is a single peak with a beautiful shape similar to Mt. Fuji. The mountain is also designated as part of the "Shikotsu-Toya National Park. The alpine flora zone of the mountain is defined as a national cultural asset, a historic site and a natural monument of scenic beauty. The Shiribetsu River, the most transparent river in Japan, flows through the area, which is also the southern limit of habitat for the endangered "Itou" (Salmonidae), one of Japan's largest freshwater fish species.
The average annual temperature is 6.3 degrees Celsius, and the area enjoys heavy snowfall with extraordinarily beautiful snowy scenery, as much as 200 cm in winter. Niseko is home to 5,000 people living in approximately 2,500 households, of which 94% are Japanese, and 6% are non-Japanese.
Hokkaido, where Niseko is located, has been developed and settled by many people since the 19th century. Today, most of Niseko's residents are involved in agriculture and tourism, and there are approximately 150 farm households in the area, with about 2,000 hectares of fields producing agricultural products.
In addition, the spirit of "mutual support" is deeply rooted in the people of Niseko. In 1922, Mr. Takeo Arishima, the owner of a large farm in Niseko and one of Japan's most famous writers, donated the farm he had inherited from his father to a small farmer free of charge. The spirit of "mutual support," a legacy of Mr. Takeo Arishima, was passed down through the generations and spread throughout the community
At the annual summer festival held at Kaributo Jinja shrine in Niseko Town, a parade of portable shrines is accompanied by a procession of flag-wavers called "Akasaka Yakko," who act as a herald for the portable shrines.
"Akasaka Yakko" marched in the parades of feudal lords and at festivals during the Edo period (17th-19th centuries). They are known for their distinctive beards and other peculiar attire that attract spectators' attention.
Niseko Town has an open environment and attracts many artists, not only from Japan but also from abroad. The town offers a variety of galleries and ateliers to enjoy culture and art, including the Arishima Memorial Museum, which introduces one of Japan’s most famous writers, Mr. Takeo Arishima.
According to the "Niseko Town Landscape Ordinance," prior consultation is required for development projects (e.g., structures over 10 meters in height, designated business sites, and land developments exceeding a particular size) and outdoor installation advertising in the town.
In this way, the city strived to protect the fantastic landscape created from activities in harmony with nature and the landscape and built up over time as local industry, culture, and history.